AT&T is giving itself a $350 million raise, adding a monthly “administrative fee” of 61 cents to the bills of all its contract wireless lines, retroactive to May 1.
Why? Well, because it can. After all, its customers are under contract so it’s not as though they can get mad and go somewhere else. And besides that, it’s an easier way to boost revenue than going out and finding new customers.
After all, AT&T has about 70 million wireless customers and most of them can afford an extra 61 cents per line per month, so why shouldn’t that money go into AT&T’s pocket. What are the consumers going to do with it anyway?
Next year will be even better for the telecom giant, which has never been shy about adding fees, charges and surcharges to everything it reaches out and touches. When applied to its 70 million customers for all of 2014, the new fee will add up to about $518 million next year.
It’s not even $1 billion but when you’re AT&T, every little bit helps.
The others do it ...
In its defense, AT&T says other carriers have fees too. Verizon Wireless, for example, charges an administrative fee of 90 cents per line and a “regulatory recovery charge” of 16 cents. AT&T has one of those too, of course. It charges about 50 cents per line. Maybe it has more regulations to comply with than Verizon?
AT&T is very particular about its image, of course, so it doesn’t take kindly to people making snarky comments about its fees, fees and more fees. An AT&T spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that the administrative fee is necessary to cover “certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell-site rents and maintenance.”
Oh well, that explains it then.